In this economy, buying a used car is a solid economic choice. But if you do not know how to buy a good used car, you could be throwing money away. Here is a used car buyer’s checklist from our car accident attorneys.
(There is a printable version of this used car buyer’s checklist at the bottom of this page.)
1. Know the Differences When Buying From a Dealer vs. Buying From a Seller
- Regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- FTC’s Used Car Rule requires dealers to post a Buyers Guide in every used car.
- The Buyers Guide will let you know if the used car comes with a warranty, advises you on safe buying practices and also lists any known mechanical and electrical problems at the time of sale.
- Not regulated by the FTC
- Usually not covered by the “implied warranties” of state law. (This means a private sale will probably be on an “as is” basis, unless your agreement with the seller specifically states otherwise.)
- Not required to make sure a vehicle passes inspection -- or carry a minimum warranty -- in many states.
2. Does the Used Car Come with a Warranty?
- As Is/No Warranty
- Implied Warranty (Warranty of Merchantability or Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose)
- Full Warranty
3. Consider a Service Contract.
Warranties are included in a car’s price, but a service contract costs extra and is sold separately.
- Does the service contract duplicate the warranty or does it begin after the warranty runs out?
- Is the vehicle likely to need repairs?
- Does the service contract cover all parts and systems of the car?
- Is the dealer offering the service contract reputable?
4. Avoid Spoken Promises.
- Spoken promises are hard to enforce and are not easily proven in court.
- If a dealer makes a promise, have it written on the Buyers Guide.
5. Have Your Own Mechanic Inspect the Car.
- Ask your mechanic if they perform a pre-purchase inspection.
- Find out if any friends or family know a good mechanic that will do this.
- Look in the phone directory under “Automotive Diagnostic Service.”
6. Find a Mobile Inspection Service if Necessary.
Ask the mechanic for a written report with the following:
- Cost estimate for necessary repairs.
- Used car’s make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN).
7. Take All Necessary Precautions When Buying a Used Car.
If you think your car accident was caused by a bad used car, then contact our bilingual San Diego law firm at 1-858-551-2090 for a FREE consultation with a car accident attorney. You may also click here to submit your case for a FREE online review.
You owe nothing until we win your case.